DERRY — Buddy Roemer is the political reformer in the New Hampshire GOP primary field.
Other candidates emphasize the economy, creating jobs, tax reform and downsizing government. Roemer is with them on those issues, too, but says the nation is in trouble because of the influence the wealthy, powerful and corporations hold over the Democrat and Republican parties.
Roemer, 68, a former four-term Congressman and two-term governor from Louisiana, wants to change the game.
"The issue in this campaign is corruption," Roemer said in an interview last week with The Eagle-Tribune editorial board. "Washington, D.C., is bought and sold. It's owned by the big boys.
"They write the tax code. They put earmarks in the budget," he said. "They allow unfair trade with China that steals our manufacturing jobs."
The problem is evident in the actions and inactions of government, Roemer said.
"I don't think any one of them is corrupt," Roemer said of the politicians in Washington. "But the system is. We've got to break it or this country's going to be mediocre in its future."
He said he would restrict political action committees, limit contributions, increase disclosure and impose criminal penalties for violations.
"They try to hide their contributions," Roemer said.
Reform would make a different, better America, Roemer believes.
"You will have a new America," he said. "Now, if everybody's playing by the rules, good people can get elected."
Roemer said he wonders if the reform theme is the reason organizers excluded him from nationally televised debates. He is frustrated over evolving debate rules that seemed to block him when he met prior benchmarks of participation.
Roemer wants to get on stage
He said he never thought a former governor and Congressman — the only one in the field — would be excluded from all national debates.